6 Ways That Older Adults Can Avoid Slip-and-Falls
As we get older, it's natural for our bodies to begin to break down. We cannot recover from illness as quickly, or broken bones. Our natural defenses wear away with advanced age.
However, there are many sensible things that you can do to retain your balance and your natural sickness-fighting abilities. It's critical to do them to have the best chance of living a long and happy life.
For instance, you can do things to make it less likely you'll be the victim of a slip-and-fall accident. It's a common occurrence with older adults, but you can hopefully avoid it if you take the following actions.
Install Railing on the Staircases
One-third of people 65+ years old will fall every year in the US. When you look at that statistic, it reveals a couple of different things:
- As you get older, your balance is not as good
- You need to take whatever precautions you can to avoid such an occurrence, especially if you live alone
If you live with someone, and you slip and fall in the house, they can help you up or call for an ambulance if you need one. If you live by yourself, though, you might lie there for hours or even days before someone finds you.
One of the most common places that older adults fall is on the stairs. That's why it makes sense to install railings beside every staircase in the house.
You can grip the rail as you go up or down if you need it. This way, you can go at your own pace.
Watch Out for the Pets
If you live with a dog or cat, you know that they can sometimes get in front of you, tripping you up. Animals:
- Love to rub up against you
- Don't realize that your balance might not be as good if you're an older adult
Some dogs might be empathetic, but the average animal won't consider you at all when you're moving around in the house or walking down the stairs. It's helpful to install handrails on staircases, but they won't help you much if the cat trips you up, and you take a tumble.
As you move around, make sure that you know where the dog or cat is. If you have multiple animals, you need to exercise even more care.
They might leave their toys on the stairs as well, so watch out for those. A dog toy left out on the steps can easily cause you to take a nasty spill.
Take Yoga Classes
If you want to keep your balance as you get older, then one way to do that is through yoga. Yoga is great for balance. It strengthens the legs and core muscles, and that's what you need to avoid a slip-and-fall.
It was once hard to find yoga studios, but now you can locate them in most towns and cities. If you live in a metropolis, then you should certainly have no trouble finding one.
If you're an older adult, and you have never tried yoga before, then it might intimidate you. It's nothing that should scare you, though. It's just breathing exercises and stretching, both of which are good for you.
Before you start your classes, make sure to find a studio and an instructor who will go at your pace. Talk with them before you start about any physical limitations that you have.
Move to a One-Story House
Another thing that you may want to think about doing is moving to a one-story house. If you live in something like a Victorian or a Cape Cod, then those have stairs. Stairs cause slip-and-falls more than anything else in a home, and that's something that you need to acknowledge.
You can move into a ranch-style home where there are no stairs. You could also think about downsizing to a condo or apartment without steps.
At a certain point, you might decide to move on from a larger house if you don't need that much space anymore. If the layout of your new living situation means that there is less chance of falling, then so much the better.
You Can Get a Home Health Aide
One other thing that you might possibly do is get yourself a home health aide. Home health aides can come for a few hours each day to help you out with the cooking and cleaning. They can also shop for you, read to you, or whatever else you require.
You can even get one to live in the house with you in some cases if you feel you need that much help. It's all about your needs and physical condition.
If you have something like MS or you need knee replacements, then it makes it very difficult to get around. A slip-and-fall is likely. If this is your situation, you should think carefully about getting a home health aide if you can afford one.
You Can Take Other Exercise Classes
If you don't want to try yoga, then there are other physical activities that you can do that will strengthen your legs, core, and back, all of which you need to keep your balance. You could get to a gym and hire yourself a personal trainer.
You can tell them about any limitations you have, and then they can craft a workout routine for you. They can do it with you while you get the hang of it, and then you can start doing it on your own. By doing so, you'll improve your balance, and it makes it less likely that you'll fall.
Slip-and-falls are more likely if you don't walk around or do much physical activity. As you become more sedentary, perhaps because of chronic pain or medical conditions, it makes falling almost inevitable.
Consider the best course of action to avoid falling when no one is around. If that happens, it could prove fatal if you hit your head or sustain another serious injury.